Savory breakfast crepes are absolutely perfect for a delicious and filling brunch! You can prepare the batter the night before, cook them in the morning and have a satisfying meal ready in no time. No one can resist a nutty buckwheat crêpe encasing a fried egg with a runny yolk, melted cheese, and sliced ham!
What are savory crepes called?
Well, it depends on where you are! In Lower Britanny a savory crêpe is called a crêpe bretonne, in Upper Britanny it’s called a galette (a galette complète if it’s filled with sliced ham, cheese and a sunny-side-up egg, like these ones) and in the rest of France they’re called crêpes salées (salty crepes).
galettes complètes ≠ salty crepes
Disclaimer ahead; these savory breakfast crepes are not the same thing as traditional galettes complètes you’ll see in Upper Britanny. I know a pair of Bretons that would squeal at the idea of adding wheat flour to galettes’ batter and cooking it in a crêpe pan instead of on a bilig. My recipe is closer to the salty crêpes from Lower Britanny, at least when it comes to the ingredients. The fact is that batter made exclusively from buckwheat flour and water is really difficult to work with. There is no gluten so the batter has no elasticity and the crepes frequently tear up once you try to flip them. Take my word for it, it’s a nightmare if you’re not used to it.
I would rather leave the galettes complètes to the trained chefs working in crêperies. It doesn’t mean you can’t have nice salty crêpes filled with ham, cheese, and eggs at home! You just have to “cheat” a bit by adding wheat flour and making the batter extra rich with milk and eggs. You’ll still taste the nutty flavor of buckwheat flour but you won’t end up pulling your hair out when it’s time to cook the savory breakfast crepes.
Traditional savory crepe fillings
If you were to go to a crêperie you might find buckwheat crepes stuffed with:
- sliced goat cheese drizzled with honey & sprinkled with thyme
- sliced smoked salmon with heavy cream & drizzled with lemon juice
- seared scallops with a leek fondue
- mushrooms sautéed in garlic & parsley butter
- combination of any type of smelly French cheeses & cold meats you can imagine
- for the traditional galette-saucisse: wrap a hot grilled sausage in a crêpe (you’re not supposed to put any dressing but come on a smear of Dijon mustard wouldn’t hurt)
WHAT GOES WITH FRENCH BUCKWHEAT CREPES
A simple lettuce salad would turn these savory breakfast crepes into a perfect full meal. When it comes to drinks; cider is the most common choice to go with savory crepes. In restaurants, cider is served in ceramic bowls instead of glasses. Cidre brut (strong dry cider of 4.5% alcohol and above) is usually served with savory crepes whereas cidre doux (sweet cider, usually up to 3% in strength) is reserved for sweet crêpes.
Are buckwheat crepes gluten-free?
Traditional buckwheat crepes (galette de sarrasin) are gluten-free because the batter is only made of buckwheat flour, salt and water. My savory breakfast crepes aren’t. I add a bit of wheat flour to make the batter more workable. If you go to a French crêperie and you are gluten intolerant, make sure that it’s written farine de sarrasin or farine de blé noir (buckwheat flour) on the menu.
How to make salty crepes batter
Nothing could be easier! Especially if you have a hand mixer or a blender. Melt 1 tbsp of butter, warm up the milk to room temperature, gradually combine them to a mixture of buckwheat and all-purpose flour. Then mix in a beaten egg and you’re all done! You can make the batter for up to 2 days in advance and store it in the fridge.
You might be thinking that’s a lot of milk for less than 1 cup of flour but buckwheat flour absorbs more liquid than wheat flour. That’s why you need more milk to make savory breakfast crepes than for my other crepes recipe. If you’re serving the savory breakfast crepes in the morning, make it easier on yourself and prepare the batter the night before. You can keep it in the fridge overnight, covered with plastic wrap or stored in an airtight container. Simply whisk for a few seconds before cooking.
We don’t necessarily eat these for breakfast in France as galettes complètes are mostly seen as a meal you would eat from a specialized restaurant (crêperie). But the combination of pancakes, ham, cheese, and fried eggs screams brunch! It’s delicious, filling and I would happily ditch cider for a cup of coffee!
Keep an eye on the pan, crêpes cook fast
Cooking savory breakfast crepes can seem like a hassle because you have to cook and fill them one by one. But once you have made a couple, you’ll be able to cook them with your eyes closed (almost). Plus savory breakfast crêpes are thin and since you cover them once the filling is added, they cook really fast. You’ll only need 5 min per crêpe.
If you have 2 crêpe pans then you can try your hand at cooking 2 at the same time! I’m too uncoordinated to try that anytime soon.
Looking for other ideas for a savory breakfast? Here are some of my favorite recipes:
- Turkish breakfast spreads & dips
- Pomme cannelle (Caribbean buns)
- Cheese buns
Savory breakfast crepes
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: French
Savory breakfast crepes are served filled with sliced ham, melted cheese and fried eggs. These nutty buckwheat crêpes are the perfect candidate for a delicious filling brunch.
For the batter:
- 20g butter (1 heaped tbsp), diced + 1 tbsp to grease the pan
- 300ml whole milk (1 ¼ cups)
- 95g buckwheat flour (⅔ cup)
- 20g all-purpose flour (2 tbsp)
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 1 egg, beaten
For the filling:
- 4 eggs
- fine salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 thin slices of ham
- 85g grated Swiss cheese (¾ cup), I used Emmental
- Make the batter. Put the butter and milk into a saucepan and heat over low heat until the butter has completely melted and the milk is at room temperature, then set aside. Put the flours and salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Gradually whisk in the milk mixture (you can use a whisk, a hand mixer or a blender) and mix until fully incorporated. Gradually whisk in the beaten egg. The batter should be as thin as single/light cream. You can sieve the batter with a strainer into another mixing bowl to get rid of any lumps if desired.
- Prepare before cooking. Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Place the filling ingredients at the ready near the stove. I prefer not to use a ladle to pour batter from a mixing bowl into the pan as it takes too many precious seconds to add more batter if needed to cover the base of the pan. Crêpes batter cooks rapidly and I find it easier and quicker to simply pour batter from a jug. However, use whatever makes you feel more in control; whether it’s a measuring jug or a ladle. So either pour the batter into a big enough measuring cup/jug or grab a ladle.
- Pour batter into a pan. Place a crêpes pan (or a non-stick frying pan with low sides) on the largest burner and heat it over medium-high heat for a few minutes. To cook great crêpes the pan should not be smoking hot but still pretty hot. Brush the pan with melted butter, it should be foaming. Now holding the pan with one hand and the jug (or a ladle) with the other, pour enough batter into the center of the pan to cover ¾ of its base. Then swirl the pan around, tilting it until the batter covers the whole base of the pan. You can always add a bit more batter if you have holes but be mindful that a crêpe should be very thin.
- Cook the crêpe and fill it. Cook the crêpe for 3 to 4 min, until the edges start to crisp up and brown and the center has set and turned golden. You can check the color of the crêpe by gently lifting the edge with a spatula and having a quick look. In the meantime crack an egg into a ramekin and cut 1 slice of ham into 3 to 4 pieces (admittedly, I use my hands). Turn the crêpe over with a spatula or use your fingers (carefully). Now working quickly; take the pan off the heat and pour the egg onto the middle of the flipped crêpe. Season the egg with salt and black pepper. Place the pieces of ham all around the egg and sprinkle a small handful of grated cheese. Place the pan back on the burner over medium-high heat. Cover the crêpe with a glass lid or an inverted frying pan that is large and high enough not to touch the fried egg. The idea is to trap the heat/steam to make sure that the fried egg will cook throughout quickly even if it’s not in direct contact with the pan. Cook for 2 min or until the underside of the crêpe is browned, the cheese is melted and the whites of the egg are completely set. Fold the edges of the crepe towards the center to make a square. Serve immediately.
- Repeat the process to cook the other savory breakfast crepes. Brush the pan with melted butter before cooking each crêpe. It’s not a necessity since it’s a non-stick pan but it makes them extra soft and buttery. If you want to serve the 4 savory breakfast crepes at the same time then, preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Slightly undercook the eggs (only cook the covered crepes for 1 min instead of 2). Place the crepes on a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment and then reheat them in the oven for just a few minutes. The goal is to warm up the savory breakfast crepes without drying them out. You want them to be warm to the touch while keeping the yolks runny.
You can keep savory breakfast crepes, placed on a plate covered with plastic wrap, in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat using a microwave or in an oven preheated to 150°C (300°F).
My crêpes pan is 32cm (12 in) wide, which is a bit wider than a normal crêpes pan. If your pan is smaller than mine, you might end up with more buckwheat crêpes.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 394
Keywords: french brunch, savory brunch ideas
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